Schrödinger’s Jihad

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Sultan Knish, by Daniel Greenfield, May 13, 2015:

The great paradox of the War on Terror is that we are fighting an enemy that doesn’t exist. We are told incessantly that there is no such thing as a Muslim terrorist.

There may be a tiny minority of violent extremists, but they are only a tiny minority of no importance whatsoever. And yet we’ve been at war with this same infinitesimally tiny minority for decades.

This tiny minority has killed thousands of Americans. It has the support of entire governments in tiny countries like Pakistan (182 million), Iran (77 million) and Syria (22 million). We are told that this tiny minority is no way representative of the world’s billion Muslims, and yet it’s hard to find a Muslim country that doesn’t support or harbor a terrorist group.

We were told that the problems was their governments, but the Arab Spring showed us that democratic elections lead to governments that are even more supportive of tiny minority of extremists who are somehow taking over entire countries.

Everything we’ve been told is obviously a lie. And the best evidence comes from the liars themselves.

The media is howling that a bunch of cartoonists in Texas were irresponsible for sketching Islam’s dead warlord because they should have known that Muslim terrorists would come to kill them for it. But if the media is right and Islam is a religion of peace, then why should they have anticipated a terrorist attack?

And if Islam isn’t a religion of peace, then the media has been irresponsibly lying to us and the cartoonists have been risking their lives to warn us of that lie.

The talking heads on the television insist that the cartoon contest was irresponsible because there were bound to be “some crazies” who would “take the bait”. But if Islam is no more violent than any other religion, shouldn’t it be just as statistically likely that some Christian or Jewish crazies would attack one of the art exhibits, plays or musicals ridiculing and blaspheming against their religions?

Weren’t museums and galleries exhibiting “works of art” like Piss Christ or Shekhina provoking and baiting those Jewish and Christian crazies? And since there are more Christians than Muslims in America, isn’t it statistically far more likely that there should have been far more Christian terror attacks targeting blasphemous exhibits?

We can only conclude that there is a much higher proportion of “crazies” among Muslims than among Christians. How much higher? 78 percent of Americans identify as Christians. 0.6 percent claim to be Muslims. Only 0.3 percent appear to be Sunnis, who are responsible for ISIS and Al Qaeda attacks.

There is indeed a tiny minority of extremists in America. It’s known as Islam.

What keeps the lie alive is another paradox. Call it Schrödinger’s Jihad. The more famous Schrödinger’s Cat is a paradox in which a cat in a sealed box with poison that has a 50 percent chance of being released is in an indeterminate state. It is neither dead nor alive until someone opens the box.

In Schrödinger’s Jihad, the Muslim terrorist is in an indeterminate state until some Western observer opens the box, collapses his wave function and radicalizes him. The two Muslim Jihadists were in an indeterminate state until Pamela Geller and Bosch Fawstin and the other “provocateurs” suddenly turned them into terrorists in a matter of days or weeks. It didn’t matter that Elton Simpson, one of the Garland terrorists, had already been dragged into court for trying to link up with Jihadists in Africa.

Every Muslim is and isn’t a terrorist. He is both a peaceful spiritual person who is eager to embrace our way of life and a violent killer who can be set off by the slightest offense. Like the cat in the box that is neither dead nor alive, he is both violent and peaceful, moderate and extremist, a solid citizen and a terrorist. He does not choose which of these to be or to become; we decide what he will be.

The Jihadist paradox is that the Muslim terrorist is always defined by what we do, not by what he does.

magnumphotographers5Islamic terrorism does not exist independently of the Western observer. It is not a Jihad with deep historical and theological roots within Islam, but a reaction to our interactions with Muslims.

Obama insists that talking about Islamic terrorism ‘summons’ them into being. By admitting the existence of Islamic terrorists, we ‘radicalize’ Muslims. Even the words ‘Islamic terrorism’ creates Islamic terrorists who otherwise wouldn’t exist.

The real threat is not from the terrorists, it’s from the truth.

When we tell the truth, people die. The truth turns Muslims into terrorists while the lies soothe them back into non-existence. Underneath all the academic terminology is the dream logic of wishful thinking. If we believe that Islam is a religion of peace, it will be a peaceful religion, and if we accept the reality that it’s violent, then it will become violent. Islam does not define itself. We define it however we want. Our entire counterterrorism policy is based around the perverse ostrich belief that Islamic terrorism is a problem that we create by recognizing its existence. If we ignore it, it will go away.

The lies about Islam are sustained by a deep conviction among liberals that the “Other” minorities are not real people with real beliefs and cultures, but victims in a game of power played out in the West. Islamic terrorism, like gay marriage or Global Warming, is just another step in the progressive pilgrim’s progress. It’s a problem that we caused and need to atone for in our cosmic karmic journey.

Westerners are privileged observers who have power while those minorities they observe do not. The duel between the Western left and right is taking place outside the box to determine what will be in the box once it’s forced open, while the oppressed minorities are in a state of indeterminacy in the box.

The Schrödinger’s Jihad paradox has many other adjoining boxes. Some are filled with dictators and criminals. If the progressive observer can open the box and find the root cause, out comes a good person; if the right opens the box, then out will march the terrorists, drug dealers and warlords.

The other side of the rhetoric about oppression and colonization, of punching up and punching down is the conviction that those at the bottom do not have free will or agency. If the mugger chooses to mug, rather than being driven to it by poverty, if Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union gleefully chose conquest instead of being forced to it by Western imperialism, and if the Muslim terrorist is not a helpless victim, but an abuser, then the moral imperative of the left’s worldview collapses in a heap.

If Muslims are real people who are at least as capable of imperialism, racism, slavery and destroying the planet as any Westerner, and who have been doing all of these things a lot longer, then leftists would have to accept that they are tearing down the most progressive civilization on the planet on behalf of ridiculously reactionary civilizations. Not only would they no longer be the privileged observers in control of the future, but they would have to see themselves as destroyers of what is left of the future.

The left refuses to blame Islam or Muslims because that would mean admitting that they are people.

Schrödinger’s Jihad is a child’s toy box for overgrown children who view Muslims as social justice dolls and terrorist action figures instead of people as flawed and complicated as they are. The left refuses to take Islamic theology seriously because it is incapable of understanding different points of view.

It approaches Islam as a race, rather than a religion, because it refuses to delve into what its beliefs are. Instead it chooses to see Muslims as blank slates to be filled with its ideology, as indeterminate patterns that can be reshaped into whatever they want them to be. It does not want to know what it says in the Koran, because that ruins its wonderful fantasy of Muslims as an oppressed race, rather than a creed.

dest18Lies that are based on what we want to be true are the hardest to disprove. A lie that is tied into identity cannot be touched without destroying the entire identity of an individual or a movement.

The lies about Islam run into the heart of what the left is. To the left, everything is indeterminate and everything can be reshaped. Existence flows from power and power is pitted against progress. By destroying that which exists, they can bring their dreams to life. The dream is stronger than reality.

The left doesn’t really believe that Muslim terrorists exist except when we bring them to life. The real animating force behind Al Qaeda was George W. Bush or Dick Cheney. The true power behind ISIS is Pamela Geller or the Pentagon. The Westerner opens the box and the Muslim terrorist comes out. When Western civilization as we know it is destroyed, then the left believes Muslim terrorism will end. Kill the observer and the cat never existed. Destroy the dreamer and the nightmare dies with him.

The truth is more dangerous than the terrorists. Terrorists can kill the body, but truth can kill the dream.

Rising Concerns over Muslim Refugee Resettlement in US: 1330amWEBY Interview with Ann Corcoran

Refugee_Hijra_WidgetNER, by Jerry Gordon, May 11, 2015:

Ann Corcoran’s brief video on Muslim Refugee Resettlement in the US has gone viral since being put up on YouTube on April 20, 2015 by the Center for Security Policy.  It has had over 200,735 hits to date climbing every day.  Clearly, Corcoran’s message has resonated among concerned Americans.   Watch it on YouTube:

The CSP YouTube video is a complement to her recently published book on the problems confronting America over the threat of mass Muslim migration that has transformed Europe and now troubles grass roots America,Refugee Resettlement and the Hijra to America” .

Corcoran and her team chronicle news and developments about this issue on the blog where she is editor,Refugee Resettlement Watch.     You may have read our interview with Erick Stakelbeck, ISIS Threat to America  in the current edition of the NER where he drew attention to the Somali refugee communities in the American heartland sending jihadi terrorists in Somali and Syria.  He spoke of young Somali émigré men who have joined up with, first Al Shabaab in Somalia, and now increasingly, join the Islamic State to fight for the self-declared Caliphate in Syria and Iraq.   We have drawn attention to the problems of Somali refugee resettlement in NER articles and Iconoclast posts over the past eight years.  They have  covered  severe cultural and integration problems in the American heartland  in places like Shelbyville, Tennessee, Emporia, Kansas, Greeley , ColoradoMinneapolis, Minnesota,  Columbus, Ohio, and Lewiston, Maine.

The Somali émigré jihadis aren’t the only terrorists among admitted refugees. Think of the brothers Tsarneav who perpetrated the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013. See our NER article, “Refugee Jihad Terror in Boston.”   An ABC investigation reported  that dozens of terrorists have been admitted fraudulently under the US Refugee Admission Program.

One example was two Iraqi refugees, al Qaeda operatives,   arrested in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 2011 convicted in 2013. They were charged with sending weapons and cash to Al Qaeda.  They lied on their Federal Refugee Admission forms about their prior terrorist involvements in Iraq. One had constructed IEDs, involved in killing four members of a Pennsylvania National guard unit in 2006 in Iraq.  A check of fingerprints on the shards of the IED caught the perpetrator.  Watch this 2013 ABC Report.   Recently, one of those convicted, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi , filed a motion seeking to overturn his conviction because his counsel said he wouldn’t get life.  That episode briefly raised the criticism of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

In excess of 250,000 Somali and Iraqis have been admitted to the US as refugees.  An estimated one million have immigrated to the US from Muslim lands. Through births and admittance of relatives under the problematic P-3 Family Reunification Visa program the impact could mean millions of additional Muslim émigrés in the US.  Virtually all of the Somali and Iraqi refugees were Muslim.  Endangered Christians and other minority religion accounted for less than 8 percent of Syrian Refugees admitted under the State Department administered   US Refugee Admissions Program .   Eleven Christian, Jewish and special interest NGOs or voluntary agencies (VOLAGS) are paid by the billion dollar State Department refugee program to process and place refugees in American communities.  VOLAGS like Catholic Charities, Lutheran World Services, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and the International Rescue Committee.  The total annual federal and state program costs of refugee resettlement are estimated to range in excess of $12 to $20 billion annually.

The UNHigh Commissioner for Refugees  establishes priorities for US Admissions under the Refugee Act of 1980. An Act co-sponsored by the late Edward Kennedy and then Senator, now Vice President in the Obama Administration, Joe Biden. The US may be poised to accept another wave of over 75,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years.   Doubtless they and growing number of  Muslim refugees from  elsewhere in the Middle East,  Africa and South Asia  will be “seeded”  in American cities  under the Fostering  Community Engagement  and Welcoming  Communities Project  of  the Office of Refugee  Resettlement with the Soros-backed  NGO , “Welcoming America “.

But now there is pushback by American cities, as witnessed by concerns expressed in letters to Secretary of State Kerry by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the House Judiciary Sub Committee on Immigration and Border Security.  Both The House Subcommittee and the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, chaired by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) hold annual hearings over refugee allotments.  Gowdy’s   letter of April 13, 2015 was prompted by constituent complaints in Spartanburg, South Carolina of the establishment of a VOLAG office to processing Muslim refugees.  He wrote Secretary Kerry seeking answers as to why the office was being established and had not been reviewed with state and local agencies.  He ended his letter:

I request that any plans to resettle refugees in the Spartanburg, South Carolina, area be placed on hold until my constituents and I receive your substantive responses to the questions and information requested in this letter. Additionally, before moving forward, both the Spartanburg community and I should have time to substantively review the information and be comfortable with the information provided.

As previously stated, I am troubled by the lack of notice and coordination with my office and the Spartanburg community, particularly local officials, regarding the plans to resettle refugees in the area. In that vein, I request at least one month’s notice prior to the arrival of the first refugee[s] in the Spartanburg area.

To find out more about what could become an important issue for evaluation of 2016 Presidential candidates, be sure to listen to an interview with Ann Corcoran of RRW by Jerry Gordon and Mike Bates on 1330amWEBY “Your Turn.” The program will air at 5:30PM CDT (6:30PM EDT), Tuesday, May 12th.  You may Listen Live here. The recorded program will be archived and posted following the broadcast.  A transcript of the interview may appear in the June edition of the NER.

Also see:

ISIS Plots to Bring the “Flames of War” the US, UK and Australia

S-Flames-of-War-Propaganda-Video-02May 9, 2015 / ISIS Study Group /

Well, we’ve come full-circle. On 08 MAR 15 we came out with an article on the Islamic State (IS) establishing a foreign fighter unit known as the “Anwar al-Awlaqi Battalion” that consists of English-speakers (“The Increasing Role of Aussie Jihadists in ISIS Efforts to Expand into Southeast Asia and Strike the West”). We also discussed how that unit was tasked with getting the personnel within the ranks enough experience to be sent back to their countries of origin within the next 4-5 months. The specific countries our sources said that would be most at risk were the US, UK and Australia. The Successful attack in Kabul, Afghanistan and failed ANZAC Day plot in Melbourne, Australia (check out “Dropping the Hammer: Aussie Police Thwart ANZAC Day Attack Plot” for more details) were merely the opening shots for bringing the “Flames of War” to the west. Recently, a cell attacked a Muhammad Cartoon contest being hosted by Pam Gellar in Garland, Texas. IS claimed responsibility for the attack. We assess that none of this is a “coincidence,” and that these attack plots are part of a much larger campaign to take the fight to the west. Furthermore, we suspect that IS-linked cells will attempt to execute attacks in the US within the next 3-4 days with additional attacks being launched in the UK and Australia – yes, we’ve been saying that for a few months now that we would be seeing this around this time of year. More importantly, we’re seeing American and Aussie foreign fighters synching up their OPs for a coordinated effort – the largest projection of IS terror on the international stage.

The Increasing Role of Aussie Jihadists in ISIS Efforts to Expand into Southeast Asia and Strike the West
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5388

Dropping the Hammer: Aussie Police Thwart ANZAC Day Attack Plot
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=6339

FBI Alerted Garland Police About Elton Simpson Hours Before Shooting
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/fbi-says-it-alerted-garland-police-about-elton-simpson-n355526

Junaid Hussein Source: Central News

Junaid Hussein
Source: Central News

The US Department of Defense has announced that military installations are on “alert” for potential attacks while the professionally-bankrupt US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims that there isn’t a “specific threat” made to any particular installation. DHS’ statement isn’t completely accurate according to our sources. The individual coordinating the US OPs is Syria-based UK national Junaid Hussein, and he’s reported to have been researching US military installations in Colorado and Ohio, so despite what DHS is saying IS appears to be focusing on a base in one of those two states. Hussein first appeared on the US government’s radar when it was revealed that he was responsible for establishing IS’ cyber-warfare capability. Although most people know him as the leader of the “Cyber Caliphate,” he’s also a prominent recruiter who assisted Australian foreign fighter Neil Prakash aka “Abu Khalid al-Cambodi” in the establishment of the Anwar al-Awlaqi Battalion. Hussein has previously run afoul of the British government and previously jailed in 2012.

ISIS activity prompts threat level increase at bases
http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/08/politics/isis-activity-prompts-threat-level-increase-at-bases/

Junaid Hussain: CyberCaliphate Leader And ISIS Member Was Behind CENTCOM Hack, Report Says
http://www.ibtimes.com/junaid-hussain-cybercaliphate-leader-isis-member-was-behind-centcom-hack-report-says-1782870

Hacker who stole Tony Blair’s details and bombarded anti-terror hotline with prank calls is jailed and claims his crime was no worse than those committed by Bullingdon members

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2179969/Hacker-stole-Tony-Blair-s-details-bombarded-anti-terror-hotline-prank-calls-jailed-claims-crime-worse-committed-Bullingdon-members.html

cambodi

Cambodia
Source: The ISIS Study Group

Additionally, Hussein has been passing down guidance to cells operating in western countries on target selection and giving them advice on proper OPSEC procedures. Much of this is being done on social media such as Facebook or Twitter. We find it rather amusing that DHS and the American mainstream media is just now starting to notice how heavily saturated our nation is with IS propaganda. We wrote about this in our article titled, “al-Hayat Media Center Continues to Saturate North America With its Social Media Outreach to Jihadists” that was posted on 25 OCT 15. These cells are domestic in nature in that none of the personnel have traveled to Syria. However, these cells and lone wolves are only the first phase of this campaign as the Syria returnees are expected to start returning to their home countries by the end of the month. In fact, we’ve been hearing that some may have already started to trickle in. This presents a big problem in that these personnel returned with the knowledge and connections to set up their own networks and attack cells – and they will be traveling with western passports that won’t draw as much attention as someone with a Saudi or Pakistani passport.

al-Hayat Media Center Continues to Saturate North America With its Social Media Outreach to Jihadists
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2523

The current attack plans appear to be a combination of IED attacks and shootings like what we saw in Garland or even the scenario we discussed last summer in “ISIS: Target America.” We suspect that they may opt to go with the pressure cooker IED design like the one used in the Boston Bombing. IS also took note of the response to he attack by local law enforcement and armed civilians and aren’t likely to make the same mistake. Instead, they appear to be looking at hitting soft targets in American cities in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles in addition to targeting military installations in Colorado and Ohio. Regarding the targeting of military installations on American soil, we assess that individual service members will also be targeted. Hussein and associate Riyad Khan were the guys who released the addresses, identities and photographs of 100 US military personnel in late-MAR that we covered in “Islamic State Urging Attacks on US Military at Home Publishes Personal Information.” This is yet another example of the coordination that’s taking place between Cambodia and Hussein. If you recall, the ANZAC Day plot called for the targeting of an individual police officer in the same manner as the murder of British Soldier Lee Rigby. That is not a coincidence. Hussein and Cambodia are working together.

Australian listed in Isis guidebook as go-to man for recruits
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/07/australian-listed-in-isis-guidebook-as-go-to-man-for-recruits

ISIS: Target America
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1196

Target America: Hunting the US Military
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2061

Islamic State Urging Attacks on US Military at Home Publishes Personal Information
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5729

hack

Some of the identities exposed by Hussein and Khan
Source: The ISIS Study Group

Another example of the Hussein-Cambodi campaign can be seen through a militant we’ve identified as Shawn Parson, a Trinidian IS member who has maintained regular contact with Cambodi over the past few months. He’s been making several posts about “plotting revenge” for the arrest of IS sympathizer Keonna Thomas and has shown a preference for targeting US government officials. The threats were made through his Twitter account (@Amriki_Irhabi) but it was taken down. The threats he’s been making appear to be connected to the ongoing threat stream as he had made specific references to US Air Force installations located in Colorado prior to his first account being taken down. When one of our staff came across him through their network analysis, we came across posts that implied that he had prior knowledge of the shootings. We suspect he was privy to this information through his relationship with Cambodi. In fact there’s unconfirmed reporting that Parson was in a photograph with Cambodi that was published in issue 8 of Dabiq Magazine. We hope somebody with some common sense in DHS has already put two and two together – but we’re not holding our breath.

Philadelphia Woman Joins ISIS: How Keonna Thomas’ Alleged Plans To Connect With The Islamic State Group Unraveled
http://www.ibtimes.com/philadelphia-woman-joins-isis-how-keonna-thomas-alleged-plans-connect-islamic-state-1869434

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 3.05.40 PM

Parson’s new Twitter account @Irhabi_IS_187 (Note that he’s also following the UK’s Pied Piper of Jihad Anjem Choudray – which can be seen on the bottom right part of this screen shot)
Source: The ISIS Study Group

Shortly after setting up the new account more threats began to be posted. He’s quite the charmer, isn’t he?
Source: The ISIS Study Group

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 10.03.26 AM

The guy on the right is allegedly Parson – we’re still working to confirm/deny
Source: Dabiq Magazine issue 8

Meanwhile in Australia, the Australian security forces continue to drop the hammer on IS cells in the country with another series of raids targeting safe-houses in Melbourne and Sydney. The following individuals were paid a visit by the Australian Federal Police (AFP):

Melbourne:
Muhammad Hasan Kollab – The AFP confiscated material that was being used to produce IEDs.
Yassir Ali Bakhit

Sydney:
Ahmed Hussein (no relation to Junaid Hussein)
Isaac Majoub – This individual has been under investigation since November 14 and is described as a “young kid” between 15-17 yrs of age.

These individuals were planning to conduct attacks the Mother’s Day weekend. We have identified the Sydney Opera House as one of the primary targets for this series of attacks. Although the media reports are saying that its uncertain if this is connected to the failed ANZAC Day pot, we can assure you it is. Furthermore, All four individuals were in direct contact with Cambodi, who – along with close associate Muhammad Junaid Thorne – were overseeing that particular operation. We suspect that Thorne was also involved with the Mother’s Day plot. According to our sources in the country, this operation was within hours of being put into the execution phase. Our Aussie allies have once again demonstrated that they’re not professionally bankrupt like their American counterparts at DHS and ensured the safety of the civilian population. The Australian threat appears to have been blunted, for now. However, a key aspect of this strategy is to overwhelm western security forces to where something “falls through the cracks.” In fact With multiple threat streams spanning across multiple countries we see the scenario we discussed in the first installment of our Target America series on an international scale. The month of MAY is only the start with Syria returnees affiliated with the Anwar al-Awlaki Battalion beginning to redeploy back to their home countries. More will begin returning in JUN, at which time we can expect to see some of these personnel embedding themselves with the local cells comprised of individuals who didn’t go to Syria themselves. Hussein and Cambodi have been the main points of contact for linking these cells up with Syria vets. The Australian government “gets it,” but the US and British governments are still plagued with political correctness. In the case of the US, incompetence is another major factor that got us to the current situation. We assess that DHS will continue their reactionary posture which increases the likelihood of another IS attack. Not bad for the “JV Team,” huh?

Melbourne anti-terrorism raids: Police uncover explosive devices at Greenvale house in city’s north
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-08/victorian-police-uncover-explosives-during-anti-terrorism-raids/6456092

Police conduct anti-terror raid in Melbourne suburb
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-32641549

‘Closest call yet': Police say tip-off sparked Melbourne raids which found alleged improvised explosive devices
http://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/05/08/15/11/police-conduct-raids-in-melbourne-s-northern-suburbs

Why There Are No ISIS ‘Lone Wolves’

Lone-Wolf-Terrorists1
PJ Media, By Bridget Johnson, On May 7, 2015:

An ISIS call-to-arms posted online nearly two weeks ago mocked the term that the West uses for the terror group’s members abroad — a big picture of a lone, grey wolf accompanied the text.

“Jihad is going through various stages to reach the state of empowerment and the rule of the land, as it does our brothers in the land of the caliphate,” said the call for jihadists in Egypt to activate.

“Wolves,” the message said, are “one of the first jihad work stages” and simply indicates “individual small cells” who have a greater chance of taking the enemy by surprise or taking down his compatriots. They don’t need “strength or muscle, huge experience in jihad work” and “each wolf chooses what suits him and what fits his goal and location of the implementation of the action.”

“Small firewood is what ignites huge and large flames… wolves will increase their expertise and will move with the time and expertise to the largest operations and to expand and diversify the weapon used.”

A “lone wolf” would be a jihadist taking it upon himself with no direct outside involvement — be it direction or support — to commit an attack. But recent attacks have shown government’s desire to rush to “lone wolf” judgment, be it to placate a nervous public, cover intelligence about wider plots or networks, or just save face for counter-terrorism efforts that let one slip through the cracks.

Government officials use the less alarming terminology that the U.S. suffered an attack from disaffected loners rather than the U.S. suffered an ISIS attack.

“There are a lot of challenges associated with trying to root out and prevent essentially lone wolf attacks,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday. “And again, based on what we know now, and there’s still a lot more that we have to learn, this is consistent with what has previously been described as a — a lone wolf attack, that essentially you have two individuals that don’t appear to be part of a broader conspiracy, and identifying those individuals and keeping tabs on them is difficult work.”

“Lone wolf” also disassociates the assailant from the broader ideological movement, painting the attacker as a disaffected, impressionable individual who is lured to a life of crime by a magazine, video or tweets.

“We continue to be keenly aware and vigilant about the threat that is posed by a so-called lone wolf, where you have an individual who is disaffected and is vulnerable to some of the kind of recruitment efforts that we see ISIL employ through social media,” Earnest said Tuesday.

Not only had Garland, Texas, shooter Elton Simpson been on the FBI’s radar for years after lying about plans to go join jihad in Somalia, but he distributed ISIS propaganda via social media. Simpson announced the Texas attack less than half an hour before shots were fired outside of the Muhammad cartoon contest, and jihadists who quickly tweeted about the attack expressed no surprise. The other shooter, Nadir Soofi, was Simpson’s roommate in Phoenix — so at what point do roommates who plan and conduct attacks graduate from “lone wolves” to a cell?

Both men were in their 30s and born in the United States. They had jobs and attended the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix. Soofi left behind a young son.

ISIS included the attack in its daily report of operations distributed to its fighters. “Two soldiers of the Khilafah carried out an assault on a convention in Garland, Texas… We say to the America, the defender of the cross, what’s coming will be even worse.”

ISIS wants to populate the caliphate, no question about it. They’ve put out the call for Muslims to contribute in ways that don’t involve fighting but are necessary for civic infrastructure, from teachers to tech specialists. A recent video about the Islamic State Health Service featured an Australian doctor — a white man with a barely-there beard — treating babies and talking about his decision to come to the Islamic State.

A 50-page handbook released earlier this year detailed tips for jihadists wanting to come to the Islamic State, from what to pack to contacts who would try to smuggle them across the Turkish border. But it acknowledged that things are getting tougher for those who want to immigrate: “Lately things have got harder at the Turkish border, so Islamic State members often meet new people in Turkey hotels and smuggle them across the border,” though the safehouses are “usually males only” and can only be accessed with “a paper signed by an existing member to show he is trustworthy.”

A month ago, an ISIS cyber unit threatened Turkey with hacking attacks if it didn’t stop impeding the flow of foreign fighters into the Islamic State. Turkey has been under intense international pressure to crack down on the flow of goods and people across the 500-mile border.

So while ISIS encourages its followers to make hijrah to the caliphate, it also encourages its followers to be part of the caliphate wherever they may be. This isn’t just because of the physical difficulties of getting to the Islamic State — ISIS regularly distributes “if I did it, so can you” stories from other jihadists who made the trip — but because of ISIS’s overall strategy.

Consider it like crowd-funding for jihadists: encouraging followers to be part of the cause however they can, whatever they can contribute, wherever they can.

They plan on building their “army” not in one centralized location straddling Iraq and Syria, but in grass-roots pockets around the globe to grow and converge upon major targets. The ISIS e-book detailing how the terror group plans to sack Rome describes drawing not just from Muslim communities across Europe but from anti-Israel activists, anarchists and ethnic minority military defections.

These cells won’t need complicated support from an ISIS HQ to plan and coordinate attacks, the book stresses, because of the open-source support for terrorists out there today. “All the Islamic groups use Google Earth today to plan their attacks…. Usually only powerful countries had power to satellite technology, now everyone can use it for free.”

Another e-book this year, The Islamic State, claims self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi does not micromanage his commanders, which gives them “a lot of flexibility and makes the Islamic State harder to defeat” unlike “conventional national armies who have a long chain of command and a common pattern in style of war.”

Their media structure is so diffuse — from “professionally edited videos” and scores of social media accounts (including coordinated hashtags) to e-books and magazines — because “by not having a website, no one can hack it and claim an online victory.”

“Each province has its own responsibility in creating its own videos and social media accounts to share its successes. By decentralising everything from the core leadership, even if a province fails online or offline, the leadership and overall Khilafah (Caliphate) leadership project is still safe and can grow elsewhere.”

The book notes that social media is its own kind of jihad. “What the Islamic State has done for Islam online: Just do a quick search for the word: ‘Islam’ on youtube: What we see is that even though Muslims have been trying to tell people about Islam for the past 20yrs, there have been more searches for ‘Islamic State’ on youtube in the past 3yrs than there have been for ‘Islam’ since youtube has ever existed.”

ISIS has turned skirting around Twitter suspensions into an art form; one jihadist on the social media site announced this week his 32nd comeback under a different Twitter handle, and jihadists whose accounts are still active spread the word about the new account of a booted member.

And if lone wolves are branded so because they haven’t received formal training in terrorist camps, consider that ISIS encourages self-training even for members located in the Middle East. A recent e-book on how the terrorists plan to seize Israel gives Krav Maga tips and suggests using “open-source technology” such as 3-D printers and reverse engineering to mass produce replicas of captured Israeli weapons. Like other ISIS materials, the book stresses that cyber jihadists are valuable recruits who can operate anywhere.

A guide for jihadists in the West issued in late March gives instructions on using secure browsers, watching Bourne films, bomb-making, physical training at home, practicing with Nerf or paintball guns, and moving up to “primitive weapons” such as crossbows. “Playing games like Call of Duty gives you knowledge of techniques used in warfare on different terrains.”

And ISIS jihadists in the West shouldn’t call themselves lone wolves, but an ISIS “special services secret agent.”

They’re encouraged to take advantage of symbolic dates for attacks, to target places like synagogues and gas pipelines, and embrace one- or two-man operations like in France. If they need to flee the West, they’re told to escape to “the Islamic State in Libya, or Khorasan (Waziristan in Pakistan), or in Nigeria (under Boko Haram territory)” if they can’t get to Iraq and Syria.

The ISIS strategy is to have jihadis of varying skills nestled in every corner of the globe, some with no more contact with fellow ISIS fighters than tweets.

In the wake of the Garland attack, a message online claiming to be from a Western member of ISIS noted that their cells abroad conduct another type of training you can’t do in a camp: learning from the successes and mistakes of other cells, soaking in every bit of media coverage. “We have been watching closely who was present at this event and the shooter of our brothers,” the message said, and have “71 trained soldiers in 15 different states ready at our word to attack any target we desire.”

The Watchman Show: World on Fire

jihad 2Terrorism experts Erick Stakelbeck, Patrick Poole and Ryan Mauro to discuss Iran, ISIS, Yemen and Syria–and why it matters for Americans.

Islam and Free Speech: Missing the Point in Garland

pic_giant_050415_SM_Garland-SWAT-Mohammed2

The purpose of the free-speech event was to highlight the threat posed by Islamic supremacists.

National Review, by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY May 4, 2015:

‘Even free-speech enthusiasts are repulsed by obnoxious expression.” That acknowledgment prefaces the main argument I’ve made in Islam and Free Speech, a just-released pamphlet in the Broadside series from Encounter Books. Alas, in view of last night’s deadly events at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, the argument is more timely than I’d hoped.

In Garland, two jihadists opened fire on a free-speech event that was certain to be offensive to many Muslims. The gunmen wounded a security guard before being killed when police returned fire. The jihadists are reported to be roommates who resided in Phoenix. As this is written, only one of them has been identified: Elton Simpson. The wounded security guard, Bruce Joiner, was treated and released. Joiner works for the Garland Independent School District, which owns the Culwell Center.

Simpson was apparently what my friend, terrorism analyst Patrick Poole, describes as a “known wolf.” That’s a radical Muslim whom the Obama administration and the media are wont to dismiss as an anonymous, unconnected loner but who, in fact, has previously drawn the attention of national-security agents over suspected jihadist ties.

Simpson previously attempted to travel to Africa, apparently to join al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda franchise. He was reportedly convicted of lying to FBI agents, though a judge found the evidence insufficient to prove he was trying to join the terror group. The al-Shabaab connection seems salient now: Police are investigating tweets about the Garland event prior to the violence, allegedly posted by a young al-Shabaab jihadist who is said to be an American citizen.

The Garland free-speech event was a contest, sponsored by Pamela Geller’s New York–based American Freedom Defense Initiative. Participants were invited to draw cartoons of Islam’s prophet, in homage to the Charlie Hebdo artists killed by jihadists in France. Besides Ms. Geller, the featured speaker at the event was Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian whose life has been threatened for years for speaking openly about the scriptural moorings of Islamic terrorism. Al-Qaeda has publicly called for Wilders to be killed, and a notorious Australian imam called on Muslims to behead him because anyone who “mocks, laughs [at], or degrades Islam” must be killed by “chopping off his head.”

In Garland, activists opposed to the violence endorsed by Islamic doctrine and to the repression inherent in sharia law were invited to draw caricatures of Mohammed, with a $10,000 prize awarded to the “best” one. The contest was sure to yield images offensive to Muslims just as transgressive artist Andres Serrano had to know the public exhibition of his Piss Christ photograph would offend Christians.

Yet, as I argue in Islam and Free Speech, it will not do to blame the messenger for the violence. The shooting last night was not caused by the free-speech event any more than the Charlie Hebdo murders were caused by derogatory caricatures, or the rioting after a Danish newspaper’s publication of anti-Islam cartoons was caused by the newspaper. The violence is caused by Islamic supremacist ideology and its law that incites Muslims to kill those they judge to have disparaged Islam.

It will not do to blame the messenger for the violence. The shooting last night was not caused by the free-speech event any more than the Charlie Hebdo murders were caused by derogatory caricatures.

Christians were offended by Piss Christ, but they did not respond by killing the “artist” or blowing up the exhibiting museum. If any had, they would have been universally condemned for both violating society’s laws and betraying Christian tenets. In such a case, we would have blamed the killers, not the provocative art. There can be no right against being provoked in a free society; we rely on the vigorous exchange of ideas to arrive at sensible policy. And the greater the threat to liberty, the more necessary it is to provoke. 

The threat to liberty in this instance is sharia blasphemy law. A bloc of Muslim-majority countries, with the assistance of the Obama administration (led by the U.S. State Department, particularly under Hillary Clinton), is trying to use international law to impose Islam’s repressive law to make it illegal to subject Islam to negative criticism. No sensible person favors obnoxious expression or gratuitous insult. But as I contend in the pamphlet, there is a big difference between saying “I object to this illustration of insensitivity and bad taste” and saying “I believe that what repulses me should be against the law.”

Ms. Geller’s detractors are predictably out in droves today, prattling about how the violence would not have happened were it not for the offensive display. No one would feel deprived by the lack of sheer insult, they say, so wouldn’t it be better to compromise free-expression principles in exchange for achieving peaceful social harmony? But that line of thinking puts violent extortionists in charge of what we get to speak about — an arrangement no free society can tolerate.

It is very unfortunate that this debate is so often triggered by forms of expression that non-jihadists will find insulting and therefore that even anti-jihadists will find uncomfortable to defend. This grossly understates the stakes involved. This is about much more than cartoons. As I outline in Islam and Free Speech, classical sharia forbids most artistic representations of animate life, not just expressions that are obviously sacrilegious. More significantly, it deems as blasphemous not just expressions that insult the prophet and Islam itself but also

critical examinations of Islam . . . especially if they reach negative conclusions or encourage unbelief[;] proselytism of religions other than Islam, particularly if it involves encouraging Muslims to abandon Islam[; and any] speech or expression [that] could sow discord among Muslims or within an Islamic community. And truth is not a defense.

It is not the purpose of Pam Geller, Geert Wilders, the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, and other activists to insult Muslims. Their mission is to awaken us to the challenge of Islamic supremacists — not just the violent jihadists but also the powerful Islamist forces behind the jihad. Islamists are attempting to coerce us into abandoning our commitment to free expression. They are pressuring us to accommodate their totalitarian system rather than accepting assimilation into our liberty culture.

You may not like the provocateurs’ methods. Personally, I am not a fan of gratuitous insult, which can antagonize pro-Western Muslims we want on our side. But let’s not make too much of that. Muslims who really are pro-Western already know, as Americans overwhelmingly know, that being offended is a small price to pay to live in a free society. We can bristle at an offense and still grasp that we do not want the offense criminalized.

It would be easy, in our preening gentility, to look down our noses at a Mohammed cartoon contest. But we’d better understand the scope of the threat the contest was meant to raise our attention to — a threat triggered by ideology, not cartoons. There is in our midst an Islamist movement that wants to suppress not only insults to Islam but all critical examination of Islam. That movement is delighted to leverage the atmosphere of intimidation created by violent jihadists, and it counts the current United States government among its allies.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

Garland Police Stop “Known Wolf” Jihadists but Free Speech Threat Remains

6850320CSP, by Kyle Shideler, May 4, 2015:

Sunday night, May 3rd, outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland Texas, two would-be jihadists attempted to launch an attack against a free speech event being held by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI). Thanks to the swift response by local security and GPD, the two suspects were killed, while an officer was wounded, but soon released from the hospital.

One of the suspects was identified as Elton Simpson, an Arizona man convicted in 2011 for lying to federal agents regarding his attempt to travel to Somalia to join a terror group. On a twitter page reportedly connected to Simpson, the author swears an oath of allegiance to Islamic State leader AbuBakr Al-Baghdadi just moments prior to the attack taking place, with the hashtag #Texasattack. An investigation is currently underway to determine who the second suspect was, identified in Simpsons’ twitter page only as “the bro with me.”

There is no doubt that many in the media will attempt to paint the responsibility for this attack on the hosts of the event, for having the temerity to hold an art exhibit featuring a number of drawings (both contemporary and historical) of Islam’s prophet Mohammad. But an examination of Simpsons’ earlier trial documents make clear Simpson was committed jihadist. From the Court quoting transcripts from the audio recordings submitted by the FBI:

In that recording, Mr. Simpson told Mr. Deng that Allah loves an individual who is “out there fighting [non-Muslims]” and making difficult sacrifices such as living in caves, sleeping on rocks rather than sleeping in comfortable beds and with his wife, children and nice cars. Mr. Simpson said that the reward is high because “If you get shot, or you get killed, it’s [heaven] straight away.” Mr. Simpson then said:

“[Heaven] that’s what we here for…so why not take that route?”

Simpson went on to describe the importance of Shariah law, and the willingness to fight to establish it:

They’re trying to make them live by man-made laws, not by Allah’s laws. That’s why they get fought. You try to make us become slaves to man? No we slave to Allah, we going to fight you to the death.”

As we have noted previously, Shariah blasphemy laws call for death for perceived insults to either Allah or Mohammed, and multiple Muslim-majority countries maintain the death penalty for blasphemy, and in many others extrajudicial killings are routine. The attempted attack on the Curtis Culwell Center should likewise be viewed as an attempt to enforce a foreign system of law against the constitution, through violence. It is not an irrational act by those “angered” or offended by a display, but one attack in a campaign targeting America’s system of governance.

Such attacks do not occur in isolation, but are part of a larger political effort to impose Shariah over American law. This is done first by equating the act of speech with the violence directed against the speakers. As we noted at the time of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris:

The Organization of the Islamic Cooperation has led the charge to see the criminalization of defamation of religion (interpreted by the OIC to mean Islam only) enforced by governments. Unfortunately the U.S. State Department has cooperated with implementing these efforts under the “Istanbul Process” for the past several years. Wickham’s claim that because violence against the speaker will inevitably result, the publication of images of Mohammad are not protected speech is the exact line of thinking represented by the Istanbul Process’s“test of consequences” concept and shows how successful the OIC’s effort to peddle this narrative has been.

This same line was adopted by the Islamist organizers of the “Stand With the Prophet” Rally, also held in Garland, Texas. From a Free Beacon article covering the event:

“Frustrated with Islamophobes defaming the Prophet?” the event materials ask. “Fuming over extremists like ISIS who give a bad name to Islam? Remember the Danish cartoons defaming the Prophet? Or the anti-Islam film, ‘Innocence of Muslims’?”

“When real events warrant, like the Danish Cartoon controversy, Sharia ban, Quran burning, Boko Haram kidnappings. [Islamic State] brutality, etc., we articulate fresh talking points and content quickly, and in a timely manner, working with professionals to disseminate it through community spokespersons and our allies,” organizers state on their website.

The publication of cartoons and other acts of free speech are being directly equated here with kidnapping, brutality and terrorism as part of an intentional effort to permit the banning of free speech that offends Islam. It’s the same logic that led Congressmen Andre Carson and Keith Ellison to demand Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders be barred from the country. Wilders attended and spoke at the Garland event.

Sadly this rhetoric has clearly caught on, and was on hand following the Garland shooting as journalists, bloggers and “Countering Violent Extremism” analysts lumped the AFDI and those who attempted to murder them together as “extremists.”

We should all be thankful that swift action by the Garland police put down a violent threat to free speech and the Constitution on Sunday.  But we should all respond equally swiftly to the political threat to free speech by loudly and unapologetically insisting that the Constitution trumps Sharia law, and free speech trumps  “so-called” blasphemy.

And there’s nothing extremist about that.

“Tiny Minority” of Terror-Supporting Muslims?

Koran-bookFrontpage, May 1, 2015 by David Meir-Levi:

On April 27, former President George W. Bush delivered an uncharacteristically harsh public criticism of President Obama’s foreign policy, accusing him of naiveté regarding Iran, losing the war against Islamic terrorism, contributing to the chaos in Iraq, and in general, lacking a clear strategy for the Middle East and placing the U.S. in “retreat” around the world.

He forgot to mention one very important, revealing and recurring aspect of Obama’s failures as the Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces and as the leader of the free world: he plays front-man for ISIS, al-Qaeda, and a dozen other Islamic terrorist organizations.

Back on February 17, The Los Angeles Times published an op-ed by President Obama, in which the president said:

“Efforts to counter violent extremism will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies. Those efforts must be matched by economic, educational and entrepreneurial development so people have hope for a life of dignity.”

During that same week Obama hosted at the White House a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism to highlight domestic and international efforts to prevent terrorism. His message at that summit was essentially the same as his op-ed: violent extremists have legitimate grievances and their violence can best be prevented by promoting democratic economic, educational and entrepreneurial development so that terrorists and wannabe terrorists can have hope, dignity and jobs. His words came with an important caveat, a warning about whom and what not to blame:

“Al-Qaida and ISIL and groups like it (sic!) are desperate for legitimacy. They try to portray themselves as religious leaders .… We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie.”

Moreover,

“The terrorists do not speak for over a billion Muslims who reject their hateful ideology… No religion is responsible for terrorism. People are responsible for violence and terrorism.” 

This mendacious message was taken to its transparently ridiculous extreme by State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf when interviewed by Chris Matthews on MSNBC and later by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Expanding upon the President’s message, she asserted that the root cause of ISIS’s terrorism is unemployment and poverty.

“We cannot win the War on Terror, nor can we win the war on ISIS, by killing them. We need to find them jobs. We need to get to the root cause of terrorism; and that is poverty and lack of opportunity in the terrorist community.”

So here’s the administration’s logic: al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hezbollah and Hamas and the dozens of other Muslim, hate-mongering, supremacist, jihadist, annihilationist terrorist armies busily at work slaughtering civilians, burning people alive, and beheading people, have legitimate grievances but still could be weaned away from their terrorist proclivities if only they had hope, dignity, and jobs.

Such tripe is truly worthy of unrestrained obloquy. There is a robust body of literature utilizing empirical analysis that incontrovertibly contradicts our president’s assertions. A recent Rand study has shown that terrorists are not particularly impoverished or uneducated. In fact, many terrorist leaders come from relatively privileged backgrounds. There is simply no link between poverty and terrorism.

The present writer has argued elsewhere in this journal that President Obama’s “don’t blame Islam” and “all they need is hope and jobs” doctrine is not the result of ignorance or misunderstanding, nor is it a desperate concern for the delicate sensibilities of Muslim minorities in our country, nor is it “naiveté” (pace George W. Bush), nor even an example of sheer stupidity. Rather, it is an intentional doctrine of pure treason against the USA and against the western world. It is an attempt to hamper America’s defensive actions against its Muslim terrorist attackers by redirecting or preventing our natural and legitimate responses to terrorist attacks. To paraphrase George Orwell: “If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other.”

By obfuscating the reality of the terrorists’ motivations and intentions, and minimizing the threat that they pose to the USA and to western civilization, Obama is helping the terrorists and hampering his own country. Helping the enemy in wartime is treason.

There is, however, one grain of truth in his benighted pronouncements about dignity, hope, and jobs: Isis et al do not speak for all Muslims. It is reasonable to assume that not every one of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world today is actively or passively participatory or supportive of the Muslim jihadist terror organizations.

But for just how many Muslims does ISIS speak? To understand the enormity of Obama’s treason, we must first know the answer to this question.

Some indication of the size of the global Muslim population supportive of Muslim jihadist terrorism can be gleaned from a series of polls aptly summarized by Brietbart’s Ben Shapiro and Wikipedia. Polls of Muslims in France, Britain, the Palestinian territories, Pakistan, Morocco, Jordan, Iraq, Indonesia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the USA show a low of 10% and a high of 70% of respondents supporting terrorism, suicide bombings, ISIS, el-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas and Hezbollah.

Results from the USA are perhaps the most hair-raising. In a Pew 2013 poll 13% of American Muslims said that violence against civilians is often, sometimes or rarely justified to defend Islam. A 2011 poll from Pew showed that 19 percent of American Muslims were either favorable toward Al Qaeda or didn’t know. Estimates place the Muslim population of the USA at about 6.7 million people. 13% of 6,700,000 is 871,000 people. 13% is a minority, but 871,000 is a frighteningly big number of people who think that targeting civilians is just fine, at least some times. That 1,273,000 (19% of 6.7 million) American Muslims admire Al Qaeda is even more terrifying.

And let’s keep in mind that Hamas is wildly popular in Israel’s West Bank, Hezbollah is growing in popularity and in political strength in Lebanon as a seemingly endless stream of volunteers flock to their ranks, ISIS enjoys a steady flow of new recruits lusting to do their share of the beheadings and mass murders, and Boko Haram is growing in strength as Nigerian Muslims enlist to kidnap more teen-aged Christian girls and behead more African Christians unwilling to convert. Moreover, in Iraq, Turkey, and Iran, Islamist leaders who solidly and vociferously support terrorism against the west have been elected to office with overwhelming majorities. Clearly a large majority of those Muslim voters want a pro-terrorism leader in office.

There is some good news in these polls: in some countries support for Muslim terrorism is on the decline. But jubilation must be tempered with the recognition that this decline may be the result of the (probably accurate) belief that some Islamic terror organizations represent an existential threat to those Muslim countries in which the polls show a decline. And even more worrisome, even after that decline there is still double-digit support for el-Qaeda and the Taliban.

In short, a double-digit percentage of Muslims all over the world sympathize with terrorist groups.

Even if we take the lowest estimate, Dr. Pipes’ 10%, we must note that 10% of one billion six-hundred million Muslims world-wide is one hundred and sixty million (160,000,000) people; and some research supports numbers above 15%. So when we reduce the total by the approximately 50 % who are women, and again by the c. 25% who are too young or too old to be considered potential recruits for the terrorist minions, we are left with about 40,000,000 potentially active Muslim supporters of terrorism. Even if only 4% of those supporters become active terrorists, we are facing a terrorist army of 16,000,000 people.

So, indeed our president is correct that Isis does not speak for all Muslims. But the 10-15% of those for whom they most probably do speak confront us with an enormous terrorist army. The “tiny minority” of Muslims who want to see us either dead or dhimmi or Muslim is not so tiny. Unless our leadership gets us onto a war footing now, we may be looking at the end of western civilization.

Terrorism in Africa: The Imminent Threat to the United States

Ansar al Sharia recruits receive training at a camp near Benghazi.

Ansar al Sharia recruits receive training at a camp near Benghazi.

Long War Journal, April 29, 2015:

Editor’s note: Below is Thomas Joscelyn’s testimony to the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence on the threat posed by jihadist groups in Africa. 

In preparing today’s testimony, I reviewed the history of al Qaeda’s plotting against the West. A number of facts demonstrate that al Qaeda’s presence in Africa has been tied to these efforts. For instance, declassified documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound show that he ordered al Qaeda’s branches in Africa to select candidates capable of striking inside the U.S. Bin Laden also ordered al Qaeda’s African branches to coordinate their work with his “external operations” team, which was responsible for plotting attacks against Western interests. Some of al Qaeda’s most senior leaders, including those who have overseen al Qaeda’s planned attacks in the West, have come from Africa. Senior al Qaeda leaders embedded in Shabaab have also trained operatives to attack in Europe. I discuss this evidence in detail in the final section of my written testimony.

Complex tribal, ethnic, and religious dynamics mean that any summary of the situation in Africa will be necessarily incomplete.  However, I will attempt to distill some themes that are important for understanding the rising jihadist threat in the continent. While there are important differences between ISIS and al Qaeda, and the two are at odds with one another in a variety of ways, they are both inherently anti-American and anti-Western. Thus, they constitute a threat to our interests everywhere their jihadists fight.

Since the beginning of the year, the ISIS branch in Libya has repeatedly attacked foreign interests. The group has bombed and/or assaulted with small arms the Algerian, Moroccan, Iranian, South Korean and Spanish embassies in Tripoli. Fortunately, these attacks have caused only a few casualties, as foreign governments pulled most of their diplomatic personnel out of Libya months ago. But these incidents show the organization’s followers are deeply hostile to any foreign presence.

Other ISIS attacks on foreigners in Libya have been more lethal and at least two Americans have been killed by ISIS’ so-called “provinces.” In January, the group’s fighters launched a complex assault on the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli. Ten people, including David Berry, a former U.S. Marine serving as a security contractor, were killed. In August 2014, jihadists from the ISIS province in the Sinai killed William Henderson, an American petroleum worker.

Some of ISIS’ most gruesome acts in North Africa have come with pointed threats against the West. In February, the jihadists beheaded 21 Egyptian Copts. The propaganda video showing the murders was entitled, “A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross.” ISIS explicitly threatened Italy in the video and also made it clear that they would target Christians simply for adhering to a different faith. Earlier this month, ISIS’ branch followed up by killing a large group of Ethiopian Christians.

In March, ISIS claimed responsibility for the massacre at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis. More than 20 people were killed in the assault, which targeted foreign tourists. Citizens of Britain, France, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, and Spain were among the victims. Although ISIS was quick to lay claim to the museum slayings, the reality is more complicated. The Tunisian government has blamed the Uqba ibn Nafi Brigade, which is part of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), an official branch of al Qaeda. Based on publicly-available information, it appears that the attackers may have joined ISIS, but the operation itself was planned by the AQIM brigade’s leadership.

Al Qaeda’s international network continues to launch high-profile attacks across the continent. Some of these operations directly target foreigners. Earlier this month, Shabaab, al Qaeda’s official branch in Somalia, killed more than 140 people at the Garissa University College in Kenya. The gunmen reportedly separated out non-Muslims for killing, letting many Muslims go. This shows that the organization, like other parts of al Qaeda, is very concerned about the impact of its violence in the Muslim-majority world. In this respect and others, the Garissa attack was similar to Shabaab’s siege of the Westgate shopping mall in September 2013. More than 60 people were killed, with Shabaab’s gunmen singling out non-Muslims. Shabaab’s attacks in Kenya and other neighboring countries are part of what the UN has identified as the group’s “regional” strategy. Shabaab has undoubtedly suffered setbacks since the height of its power in East Africa, but it still operates a prolific insurgency inside Somalia, while also seeking to expand its capabilities in the surrounding countries. In fact, America’s counterterrorism efforts in East Africa seem to be principally aimed at the part of Shabaab tasked with exporting terrorism throughout the region.

As we’ve seen over the past several years, al Qaeda-affiliated groups in Africa will attack American and Western interests when the opportunity presents itself.  The September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Mission and Annex in Benghazi and the raid on the U.S. Embassy in Tunis three days later were carried out by al Qaeda-linked groups. The Ansar al Sharia organizations in Libya and Tunisia, both of which are tied to AQIM, were involved in these assaults on America’s diplomatic presence in North Africa. In early 2013, terrorists commanded by Mokhtar Belmokhtar killed dozens of foreign workers during the siege of the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria. Belmokhtar, who is openly loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri, claimed responsibility for operation on behalf of al Qaeda.

There is no doubt, therefore, that both ISIS and al Qaeda pose a threat to Western interests in Africa. Below, I explore current trends within both organizations, highlighting some ways these international networks may threaten Americans both home and abroad. But first, I briefly look at the different strategies ISIS and al Qaeda are employing to build up their networks.

Read more

***

Subcommittee Hearing: Terrorism in Africa: The Imminent Threat to the United States

Witnesses

Dr. J. Peter Pham
Director
Africa Center
Atlantic Council
Witness Statement [PDF]
Witness Truth in Testimony [PDF]

Mr. Thomas Joscelyn
Senior Fellow
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Witness Statement [PDF]
Witness Truth in Testimony [PDF]

Dr. Daniel Byman
Research Director
Center for Middle East Policy
Center for Security Studies
Brookings Institution
Witness Statement [PDF]
Witness Truth in Testimony [PDF]

The growing list of Muslim Student Association (MSA) terrorists – updated

668_large (1)By Creeping Sharia, April 25, 2015:

The MSA has a growing list of terrorist alumni as noted in this post, Why Muslim Student Group Concerned the NYPD:

The list is extensive, but among the MSA alumni who went on to terrorist involvement are:

  • Anwar al-Awlaki, an influential American-born al-Qaida cleric who recruited a series of homegrown jihadists before being killed by a U.S. drone strike;
  • Aafia Siddiqui, convicted of attempted murder and assault on U.S. officers and employees in Afghanistan;
  • Zachary Chesser, convicted of attempting to provide material support to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab and soliciting attacks on “South Park” producers for an episode in which the prophet Muhammad was shown in a bear suit;
  • Jesse Morton, convicted with Chesser of threatening the South Park producers with murder;
  • Adam Gadahn, an al-Qaida spokesman who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for treason and material support to al-Qaida;
  • Waheed Zaman, who was convicted of plotting to blow up transatlantic flights;
  • Adis Medunjanin, who is awaiting trial for plotting to bomb New York subways;
  • Ramy Zamzam, who was convicted in Pakistan of conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks;
  • Omar Hammami, who was indicted on charges of providing material support to al-Shabbab and is designated by the U.S. Treasury Department for his terrorist connections;
  • Muhammad Junaid Babar, who pled guilty to his support to al-Qaida; and
  • Syed Hashmi, who pled guilty to providing material support to al-Qaida.

MSA was founded in the United States in 1963 by members of the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood seeks a global Islamic state and has spawned leaders of a series of Sunni terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The Muslim Brotherhood motto established by founder Hassan al-Banna is, “God is our objective, the Quran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our way, and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.”

MSA members remain faithful to Brotherhood ideology. At the closing session of the MSA West conference in January 2011 at UCLA, attendees recited a pledge, “Allah is my lord, Islam is my life, the Quran is my guide, the Sunna is my practice, Jihad is my spirit, righteousness is my character, paradise is my goal. I enjoin what is right, I forbid what is wrong, I will fight against oppression, and I will die to establish Islam.”


Update 1 via the Hayride: h/t terrortrends

  • In June 2006, Ali Asad Chandia, who had served as president of the Montgomery College (Maryland) MSA in 1998 and 1999, was convicted on terror charges as part of a Northern Virginia jihad network; he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for three separate counts of conspiracy and material support to the Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
  • Abdurahman Alamoudi, who served as MSA national president in 1982 and 1983, is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for his extensive international terrorist activities, which included fundraising for al Qaeda.
  • In February 2010, Aafia Siddiqui – a woman who had been captured in 2008 with explosives, deadly chemicals, and a list of New York City landmarks – was convicted of attempting to murder a U.S. Army captain while she was incarcerated and being interrogated by authorities at a prison in Afghanistan. Described variously as “al-Qaeda’s Mata Hari” and “Lady al-Qaeda,” Siddiqui had previously been radicalized by the MSA chapter at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studied neuroscience.
  • Wael Hamza Julaidan, who served as president of the University of Arizona MSA in the mid-1980s, went on to become one of al Qaeda’s co-founders and its logistics chief. In September 2002, the U.S. governmentlisted Julaidan as a specially designated global terrorist, identifying him as a close associate of Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders, and as a director of the Rabita Trust, which had already been designated a terrorist finance entity that supported al-Qaeda.
  • University of Idaho MSA president Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, who operated nearly a dozen Arabic-language websites for anti-American, pro-suicide-bombing clerics, was accused by federal authorities of using his academic studies as a cover for terrorist support activities. Al-Hussayen wasdeported to Saudi Arabia in June 2004 after agreeing to a deal with federal prosecutors.
  • In December 2009, Howard University dental student Ramy Zamzam, who had served as the president of MSA’s D.C. Council, was arrested in Pakistan along with four other D.C.-area men (all of whom were also active in MSA). All five were charged with plotting to join the Jaish-e-Muhammed terrorist group with plans to attack U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan; all five were convicted in a Pakistani court in June 2010 and sentenced to at least 10 years in prison.
  • Syed Maaz Shah, secretary of the University of Texas-Dallas MSA chapter, was arrested in December 2006, for his involvement in paramilitary training at an Islamic campground, where he was preparing to join the Taliban in order to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Shah was convicted on weapons charges in May 2007.
  • Ziyad Khaleel, president of the Columbia College (Missouri) MSA, was a representative of the Islamic Association for Palestine (a Hamas front). He also registered and operated the English-language website for Hamas, and served as al Qaeda’s chief procurement agent in the United States during the 1990s. Among the items Khaleel purchased was a $7,500 satellite phone for Osama bin Laden. That phone, dubbed by intelligence authorities as the “jihad phone,” was used to plan the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings.
  • Anwar Al-Awlaki served as president of the Colorado State University MSA in the early 1990s, and as chaplain of the George Washington University MSA in 2001. In Washington, DC, he delivered sermons that were attended by two of the 9/11 hijackers and by Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan. In 2002 Alwaki fled the U.S. for Yemen, where he developed ties to al Qaeda and reportedly played a role in the Fort Hood massacre of 2009, the failedChristmas Day underwear-bomber plot of 2009, and the attempted Times Square bombing of 2010.
  • Carlos Bledsoe, aka Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, was a member of the MSA as a student at Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN. Bledsoe went on to receive terrorist training at a jihadist training camp in Yemen and returned to the US and murdered US Army Private Andy Long outside a Little Rock, Arkansas recruiting office on June 1, 2009.
  • Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, aka Omar Hammami is an American-born member of al Shahab, a Somali Islamic militant group aligned with al Qaeda. Hammami served as president of the MSA chapter at the University of South Alabama.
  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who would later go on to mastermind the September 11th terrorist attacks as the number 3 man in Al Qaeda, was a member of the MSA chapter at North Carolina A&T in 1986.

If anyone knows of other MSA jihadists, let us know and we’ll update the list.

More: Muslim Student Association Pledge of Allegiance: Jihad is my spirit, I will die to establish Islam

***

Update: From a CJR reader in Canada:

YOU ASKED: If anyone knows of other MSA jihadists, let us know and we’ll update the list.

Here are some names in Canada

Ahmed Said Khadr
MSA University of Ottawa
http://pointdebasculecanada.ca/ahmed-said-khadrs-radicalization-at-the-university-of-ottawa/

Ferid Imam
MSA University of Manitoba
Archive.Today (Former MSA Manitoba president Shariq Kidwai said that Ferid Imam has been a president of the association before him.)

Muhanad Al Farekh
MSA University of Manitoba
http://pointdebasculecanada.ca/update-after-deported-to-u-s-from-pakistan-former-msa-manitoba-al-farekh-appears-in-new-york-court-terrorism-charges/
https://archive.is/0lxuS

Maiwand Yar
MSA University of Manitoba
RCMP Warrant https://archive.is/kWAqF
MSA Manitoba https://archive.is/0lxuS

Geert Wilders Speech for US Congressmen at Conservative Opportunity Society

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Geert Wilders Weblog, April 29, 2015:

Dear Friends,

It is an honor to be here, among so many colleagues. Thank you Steve for inviting me here at the Conservative Opportunity Society.

I am a politician under attack. For over ten years now, I have been living under 24 hour police protection. I am on the death list of Al Qaida. The Pakistani Taliban also want me dead and terrorists from the Islamic State in Syria made similar threats. In order to be safe, my wife and live in a safe house and have stayed in army barracks and even in prison cells, actually the same cells and beds where the Lockerbie suspects were held in the Netherlands. I am driven around in armored cars and even during TV debates in election time in my home country I have to wear a bullet proof vest. Leftist and liberal activists call me a xenophobe and a racist and the extreme right calls me a Zionist and Mossad agent because of my love for Israel.

So what did I do to deserve all this?
The reason for all this is that I speak out against the Islamization of the West. The reason is that I tell the truth about the totalitarian ideology called Islam and that I nonetheless lead one of the major parties in the Netherlands. A national poll yesterday even indicated that my party, the Party for Freedom, is currently the biggest party in the Netherlands.

But enough about me. It is not about me.
I am not the only one under attack. My country is under attack. My continent is under attack. Your country and your continent are under attack. We are all under attack. Our western civilization based on Christianity and Judaism is under attack. The whole free Western world is under attack.

And remember, we have been under attack before.
As it happens, we are gathered here this morning on a symbolic day.
Exactly 70 years ago, on April 29, 1945, two divisions of the US Seventh Army liberated the concentration camp of Dachau, the oldest of the Nazi concentration camps.
One of the American liberators wrote: “Since we saw this camp, we understood that we were not engaged in war against soldiers and officers, but against criminals.”

After the Second World War, our leaders vowed: Never again!
Never again will we tolerate anti-Semitism, political assassinations, mass murders, oppression, slavery. And they vowed that they would never forget and always remember the lessons of history.

Here is one of these lessons:
When confronted with evil, do not put your heads in the sand, but act before it is too late.

In the 1930s, most politicians in Europe had looked away. They tried to appease evil, hoping that it would react to appeasement by growing moderate. What fools they had been! And what a terrible price the world had to pay for this foolishness. Neutrality in the face of evil is evil.
But appeasement is downright suicide.

And here we are today.
Despite all the promises that we would not make the same awful mistake all over again, many Western leaders are doing exactly that. Looking away and appeasing evil.

I often wonder what part of the Koran our leaders find so difficult to understand?
Is it sura 47:4? “When ye meet the unbelievers, smite at their necks and cause a bloodbath among them”? Or is it sura 4:89, “Seize them and kill them wherever ye find them”? Or sura 8:60, “Strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah”? Or is it another of the over 150 Koranic verses which call for jihad against non-Muslims? Or any of the many verses which call for the subjugation of Christians and Jews, or the murder of apostates?

We have a huge problem with Islam in the West today. First, let us look at the causes, then at the consequences, and finally at ways to solve this problem.

The Islamization process has been caused by immigration, combined with our failure to demand that immigrants adapt our values. Fifty years ago, the Netherlands had one thousand Islamic immigrants. Today, we have one million, or 6% of our population.
In the Netherlands, Muhammad is currently already the second most popular name among newborn boys nationwide and the most popular name in our three largest cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. This is also the case in the Belgian capital Brussels, the Norwegian capital Oslo, the British capital London and as a matter of fact even in the whole of Great-Britain.

We failed to demand that immigrants adopt our Judeo-Christian values and assimilate into our society. And here are some of the consequences: There is little loyalty to our home countries.
A survey last November among Turkish youths in the Netherlands found that 80% do not consider the violence which groups such like IS use against non-believers to be wrong. An earlier poll showed that 73% of the Muslims in my country say that Dutch Muslims who go and fight in Syria are heroes. You have heard right: Heroes!

Of course – I repeat it wherever I go – I have nothing against Muslims. Before the death threats started I have visited almost every Islamic country and I met many friendly people. I know there are many moderate Muslims who do not live according to the violent commands of the Koran. Muslims can be moderates. But there is no moderate Islam. Islam has changed Europe beyond recognition.

I invite you to come to Europe and visit some of our inner cities. I will show you around. We will drive you around. You can see it with your own eyes. You will not believe your eyes.
Many neighborhoods of European cities no longer look European. We are confronted with headscarves and burkas, polygamy, and huge sympathy for the goals and the practices of terror groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

The floodgates of immigration are wide open.
Last year, a record 218,000 immigrants reached Europe by boats across the Mediterranean Sea.
Those who made it were the lucky ones. Many of the boats sink and the immigrants drown.
A human catastrophe is unfolding. The Mediterranean is becoming a Sea of Death.
At this very moment, there are up to 1 million immigrants, mostly Islamic, waiting in North Africa to cross the Mediterranean in shabby boats. They take the risk of drowning because they know that Europe is not sending them back once they have made it. That is why ever more people try to cross. This situation must stop.

The European Union has decided to send navy vessels to pick up the immigrants and transport them to Europe. This policy is stupid. It will encourage even more people to attempt crossing the sea. What Europe should do is to follow the example of Australia. The Australian navy pushes boats with immigrants back, out of the Australian waters. If the boats of the immigrants are too shabby, the Australians provide them with new boats with food and water, but they do not allow one single illegal immigrant to enter their country. The Australians results are excellent: fewer people try to reach Australia by boat, fewer people drown and the criminal human traffickers lose their income.

The boats also constitute a huge security risk. ISIS is using them as a gateway to Europe. ISIS recently boasted from Libya: “We will conquer Rome with Allah’s permissions.” The British Quilliam Foundation saw an ISIS document revealing that jihadis are about to sail across the Mediterranean posing as migrants on people trafficking vessels. They want to attack what they call “the Crusader states” in Europe.

The UN plan to resettle 1 million immigrants in Western nations will provide jihadis an opportunity to infiltrate Western countries, including the US. It will give terrorists the opportunity to settle in our countries without the extra scrutiny involved in obtaining a visa or a residence permit.
We should not do this. The vast majority of the European citizens disapprove of the way their governments are handling immigration. Moreover, there are plenty of other safe countries where immigrants bound for the West can go to, including the wealthy Gulf States that have almost zero asylum-seekers today.

Immigration, especially Islamic immigration, had devastating consequences. It has made our countries less safe. What this means, we witnessed last Summer in my home town, The Hague. Sympathizers of the Islamic State paraded in the streets. They carried swastikas, they carried the black flags of IS. They shouted “Death to the Jews.”
It was a truly frightening sight, bringing back memories of the darkest period in our history.
It indicates how much a once so peaceful and tolerant society as the Netherlands has changed as a result of Islamic mass immigration.

In every Western nation, there are homegrown jihadis, prepared to commit violence. ISIS calls them “city wolves.” Our media prefer to speak of “lone wolves,” but they are not alone; there are thousands of them. According to the European police agency Europol, 5,000 homegrown jihadis have left Europe to fight in Syria and Iraq.

The situation is extremely serious.
Last January, an ISIS operative said that his organization had already sent some 4,000 fighters into Europe. 4,000 city wolves are on the loose in Europe. In Germany, the Military Intelligence Service even warns for jihadis having infiltrated the German army.

In my country, the University of Amsterdam found that 11% of the 1 million Muslims in the Netherlands is prepared to use violence for the sake of Islam. That is a staggering 100,000 people in a country of 17 million inhabitants!

Our duty is clear. In order to solve the problem, we have to stop mass immigration to the West from Islamic countries. And we have to get rid of the cultural relativism.

The authorities in both Europe and America try to prevent Jihadis from leaving for Syria and Iraq.
But I say: This is wrong. Let them leave if they want to leave. But let them never return.
Blocking the exodus of those who want to wage Jihad elsewhere and not detain them is sheer stupidity. Perhaps you remember that the Jihadis who last Autumn murdered soldiers in Canada were people whom the authorities had previously prevented to leave for Syria and who were not arrested but allowed to go free on the street.
We must hasten their exit instead of preventing it. But we must never allow them to return. If you leave for jihad you lose the right to our citizenship and we will never let you come back again. This is how it should be.

In my country and the other EU member states, which signed the so-called Schengen Treaty, we have abolished all border controls between the 26 member states of the Schengen zone. This means that Jihadis from one of these states can freely travel to the others and commit their crimes there. And it has already happened. Last year a Jihadi from France, who had just returned from Syria, went to Belgium and murdered four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

Without borders a nation-cannot guarantee the security of its citizens. Neither can it preserve its national identity and culture. I believe that one of the most vital things which we Europeans must do is to leave Schengen and reinstate national border control.

My friends, we are all in the same boat.
And we must do our duty.
We must speak the truth about Islam, so that our electorates be aware of the danger.
We must protect our Judeo-Christian civilization, so that their children can leave in peace and prosperity.
We must defend our borders, so that our families be safe and our nation’s identity preserved.
We must stand with Israel and all the free nations threatened by Islam.
And above all, we must be brave.
As the great Ronald Reagan said: The future does not belong to the fainthearted.

Thank you.

Frontline Documentary: A Perfect Terrorist

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The Memoir of an “American Terrorist”

by Jason M. Breslow

David Coleman Headley is not exactly a household name, but his is one of the more unnerving terrorism cases in the post-9/11 era. White male. Government informant. American citizen. In other words, he had the perfect cover.

It was under the safety of that cover that Headley — a former drug smuggler turned informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration — helped stage the November 2008 siege in Mumbai, an audacious attack that left 166 people dead, including six Americans. Working with the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, Headley used his U.S. passport to travel to India, scout locations for the plot, film them and even find a landing site for the plot’s attackers.

Within weeks of Mumbai, Headley was working on another plot — this time working for Al Qaeda, planning an assault against a Danish newspaper that had published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The plan: A group of attackers would take hostages at the paper, shoot them, behead them and then throw their heads out the window. Again, Headley worked reconnaissance for the mission until his eventual arrest by the FBI at O’Hare International Airport in 2009.

Today, Headley is serving 35 years for his role in Mumbai. His case, however, has hardly gone away. In the aftermath of the Edward Snowden revelations about NSA surveillance, U.S. intelligence officials pointed to the Headley case as an example of how bulk data collection can thwart a terrorist attack. But tonight, in American Terrorist, ProPublica and FRONTLINE investigate that claim.

In the course of our investigation, FRONTLINE was given exclusive access to a draft of a memoir Headley wrote in prison. Excerpts from the draft offer a unique window into Headley’s turn toward extremism, his training with Lashkar-e-Taiba and his preparations for the Denmark attack.

In one passage, for example, Headley writes about his first encounter with Lashkar militants, describing how he was “very impressed with their dedication to the cause of the liberation of Kashmir from Indian occupation. As Headley tells it:

In 1999, after serving my sentence for drug trafficking, I decided to turn over a new leaf. To make amends for my unrighteous ways I worked … for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) … I had spent the past fifteen years frequenting the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan, on heroin procuring expeditions. This lawless land had remained the same, frozen in time, since the 18th century. The British had thought it wise to leave this place alone during their rule of India. I started leaning more and more on my religion as part of my change. I had not been a practicing Muslim the past fifteen years, but the seeds of Islam sown in me by my Father and in school had never completely died out. Another change I made was to break away from my Canadian girlfriend, who I had been planning to marry for the past five years, and agree to an arranged marriage in Pakistan. Still on probation, I kept visiting Pakistan four times a year, without the knowledge of the DEA or my Probation Officer, to see my new wife, who I had decided to keep in Pakistan.

On one of my trips, October 2000, I made my first contact with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LT), quite by accident. I attended their annual convection in November. I was very impressed with their dedication to the cause of the liberation of Kashmir from Indian occupation.

In a later passage, Headley marks his decision to join Lashkar “full time” following the 9/11 attacks, and says that by 2002 the group asked him to take “the Daura Aamma, the basic military training course offered by LT.” It was one of several training programs he writes about. In a separate section, he recalls a second course that he attended:

We hid most of the day in caves and under trees, while we were given instructions on various lessons. Most of the practical aspects of the lessons were carried out at night. During this course, I was trained in infiltration, survival, camouflage, raid/ambush tactics, hide out, hiding and retrieving weapons caches, more than a dozen night marches, target practice with AK-47 and 9 mm pistol, RPG, grenades, among other training. We also went through an extensive indoctrination process and were required to study many Quaranic Chapters and Hadith.

By 2005, Lashkar’s plans for Headley are coming into focus. He is trained in explosives, but perhaps most importantly, Lashkar asks him to change the name given to him at birth by his Pakistani father and American mother — Daood Gilani. He chooses David, which is English for Daood; Coleman, which was his grandfather’s name; and Headley, which was his mother’s maiden name. It was a bureaucratic act, but intelligence officials say the change made Headley that much more difficult to track.

Finally, in June, my immediate superior, Sajid Mir, instructed me to return to the United States, change my Muslim name to a Christian sounding name and get a new U.S. passport under that name. He now informed me I would be going to India, since I looked nothing like a Pakistani in appearance and spoke fluent Hindi and Urdu it would give me a distinct advantage in India.

As his training continued, so did his embrace of the Lashkar lifestyle. In 2007, for example, Headley takes a second wife. He describes the decision by saying:

Polygamy was aggressively encouraged by LT and they were really happy to see me take this step. I was definitely “one of the guys” now.

Around the same time, Headley was conducting regular reconnaissance of targets in Mumbai. On one trip, he checks into the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, which would later be the epicenter of the Mumbai attack, with his new wife for a “honeymoon.” As he cases locations on his trips to the city, Headley says he takes “extensive video.”

The plan was to capture an Indian fishing vessel, which constantly strayed into Pakistani waters, and commandeer it all the way to Mumbai. The hope was that the Indian Coast Guard would not notice an Indian vessel. The boys would carry a GPS device which would guide them directly to the landing site, I had selected earlier.

After the attack, Headley says he was told to “lay low.” Instead, he eventually connects with Al Qaeda and with the assistance of a contact he has inside the organization he travels to Denmark to scout the Jyllands-Posten newspaper for a possible strike.

This paper had published a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad and was on the top of the hit list for Al Qaeda. The Major told me that the leadership desired the attack to be carried out ASAP on the Newspaper Head Office. I visited Copenhagen in January 2009 and conducted detailed surveillance of the office there as well as their location in Arhus. I was able to make entry into both locations. …

A few days later he took me to North Waziristan, where I met Ilyas Kashmiri, the Al Qaeda number four. He gave me a further pep talk on the Denmark Project, saying that, both, Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri had stressed upon him the need to conclude this matter quickly. I agreed and assured him of my best effort.

Western intelligence would soon learn of the plot, and close in on Headley. At the end of his draft, he describes the days leading up to his arrest.

I received final instructions in Denmark and left for the United States. in July 2009, I flew to England from Chicago and met Kashmiri’s friends. … Both of these men were also under surveillance by British Police, as a result of which I too came under surveillance. They forwarded their information to the F.B.I. From England, I checked out Denmark one last time and returned to the United States. I had now reached the conclusion that since I was short on man power, I would modify the operation and, instead of assaulting the newspaper building, just take out the cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, and do this deed myself. All I would need was a handgun, which I knew I could find in Europe … I was finally arrested on 3 October 2009, at O’Hare Airport, on my way back to Pakistan.

Benghazi suspect designated by UN, State Department

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LWJ, BY THOMAS JOSCELYN | April 15, 2015:

The State Department added Ali Ouni Harzi to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists yesterday. Harzi, who is based in Syria, “joined Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AAS-T) in 2011 and was a high-profile member known for recruiting volunteers, facilitating the travel of AAS-T fighters to Syria, and for smuggling weapons and explosives into Tunisia,” according to State.

Curiously, the State Department’s designation page does not mention Harzi’s role in the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks.

Days earlier, the United Nations (UN) added Harzi to the Security Council’s al Qaeda sanctions list. The UN’s designation page for Harzi reads: “Planned and perpetrated the attack against the Consulate of the United States in Benghazi, Libya on 11 Sep. 2012.”

Indeed, Harzi was one of the first suspects in the Benghazi attack to be publicly identified. The Daily Beast first reported that Harzi’s involvement in the assault on the US Mission and Annex were discovered after US officials learned that he had “posted an update on social media about the fighting shortly after it had begun.” This was “[o]ne of the first clues the intelligence community had about the perpetrators” in Benghazi.

Harzi was apprehended in Turkey in October 2012 at the behest of US officials. He was making his way to Syria at the time.

After being deported to Tunisia, Harzi was held for weeks. In December 2012, FBI agents questioned him about the Benghazi attack. Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, an al Qaeda-linked terrorist organization, stalked the agents. The group posted their pictures online while condemning the Tunisian government for allowing the FBI to interview Harzi. That same month Ansar al Sharia Tunisia released a video discussing Harzi’s case and confirming the FBI’s role in his questioning.

In early January 2013, despite his suspected role in the death of four Americans, Harzi was released. Ansar al Sharia posted a video celebrating Harzi’s release. Harzi made some brief comments in the video, which showed him being congratulated by his fellow jihadists.

US officials, including then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and John Brennan, who became the CIA director, were asked about Harzi’s release during congressional hearings.

In late January 2013, Clinton told senators that the Tunisians had “assured” the United States that Harzi was “under the monitoring of the court.” In February, during his confirmation process to become CIA director, Brennan claimed that the US government “didn’t have anything on” Harzi and, therefore, his release was not worrisome.

As the UN’s designation shows, however, there has long been evidence that Harzi was directly involved in the Benghazi attack. And Tunisian authorities clearly failed to keep tabs on Harzi.

On February 6, 2013, a left-wing Tunisian politician named Chokri Belaid was assassinated. Then, on July 25, another popular politician, Mohamed Brahmi, was killed. The following day Tunisian authorities claimed that Harzi was involved in both assassinations. However, neither the UN nor the State Department designations mention this allegation. Another Ansar al Sharia Tunisia member who went on to join the Islamic State has boasted of his role in planning the murders.

In March of this year, the Tunisian National Guard issued an arrest warrant for Harzi.

In addition to Ali Ouni Harzi (whose name is often spelled Ali Ani al Harzi in the press), the UN designated Tarak Ouni Harzi, Ali’s brother. Tarak was a known facilitator for al Qaeda in Iraq. Tarak was a “dangerous and active member of Al Qaida in Iraq” as of 2004, according to the UN and “also active in facilitating and hosting members of Ansar al Sharia in Tunisia…in Syria.” Tarak was sentenced, “in absentia, on 30 October 2007, to 24 years imprisonment for terrorist activities by the Appeals Court of Tunis.”

Despite being wanted by international authorities, both of the Harzi brothers remain at large. It is not clear if they are working for the Islamic State, the Al Nusrah Front, or some other jihadist groups in Syria.

The leader of Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, Abu Iyad al Tunisi, remains free as well. Al Tunisi is a longtime al Qaeda operative who helped orchestrate the assault on the US Embassy in Tunis on Sept. 14, 2012, just three days after the Benghazi attack. The State Department has also designated Abu Iyad as an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist and noted his role in the Sept. 14 assault.

Both Ansar al Sharia Libya, which was one of the al Qaeda groups responsible for the Benghazi attack, and Ansar al Sharia Tunisia have operated as part of al Qaeda’s network in North Africa.

Suspected Mastermind of Mumbai Massacre Released

m07_17179685CSP, by Aaron Kliegman, April 10, 2015:

Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, was released from a Pakistani jail on bail Friday morning. He was granted bail by an anti-terrorism court in December and was supposed to be released March 13th, but a Pakistani court delayed the action due to the Taliban’s attack on a school in Peshawar that killed at least 145 people.

The Lahore High Court suspended the Punjab government’s detention order for 55-year-old Lakhvi and declared it illegal, calling for his immediate release. According to Lakhvi’s counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi, the government had no other “legal option” but to free him and said “neither the government nor the Adiala Jail authorities can violate the court’s order this time.”

New Delhi responded harshly to Lakhvi’s release, asserting it erodes assurances Islamabad has given regarding cross-border terrorism. India’s Home Minister called the action “unfortunate and disappointing” while a spokesman for the ministry said the court’s decision is “an insult to victims of the 26/11 Mumbai attack.” Indian and Pakistan historically have a very combative, war-ridden relationship, and this event will only further tensions between the two.

The Mumbai Massacre, as the terrorist attacks are known by, was a series of twelve coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, India’s most populous city, lasting four days from November 26th to November 29th. 172 people were killed with hundreds more wounded, and the attacks were carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a South Asian Islamist terror organization operating mainly from Pakistan.

Lakhvi is the alleged military chief of LeT and known as “chacha Zaki” by young recruits. He is accused of personally directing the Mumbai attackers by phone in Pakistan to carry out the coordinated violence. A spokesman for an LeT-linked charity, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, said Lakhvi is in a “secure place,” further indicating Lakhvi’s involvement with the terror group.

Pakistani intelligence is known to have worked with LeT, giving it financial and logistical support over the years. Furthermore, the country’s military is known to have close ties to the jihadist organization. Such dynamics have helped LeT survive since the group’s founding in 1990.

LeT’s reach, however, extends far beyond Pakistan to the United States. American David Headley was sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in prison for helping to plan the Mumbai attacks. Court documents detail that Headley trained at LeT camps in Pakistan from 2002 to 2005 and helped scout targets in Mumbai for the deadly plot.

Additionally, the Virginia Jihad Network was a jihadist network based in northern Virginia that caused a four-year federal investigation, which concluded in 2005 with the conviction of Ali Al-Timimi on terrorism charges.

There were several individuals within this organized movement who trained with, fought for, and/or provided material support to LeT, including 11 men charged in a U.S. District Court in Alexandria. Some of these individuals actually traveled to Pakistan to train at LeT camps.

The network was interestingly part of a larger paintball training “program” for Islamists, seemingly meant to train jihadists for combat. A U.S. government trial proved that LeT bought U.S. supplies to build military equipment through operatives in America and that an LeT official asked Masoud Khan – an LeT supporter who conspired to wage war against the U.S. – to buy him paintball equipment. Furthermore, Ismail Royer, an American involved the network who joined LeT, also had ties to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood front group with terrorist associations.

Beyond the aforementioned networks, two brothers – Hafiz Mohammed Saeed and Hafiz Mohammed Masood – both of whom are clerics, have deep associations with LeT, and Masood lived in the U.S. for years. Masood is also spokesman for Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which the U.S. calls a terrorist front group, and is a Muslim American Society leader, a Muslim Brotherhood group with ties to terrorism. Furthermore, his brother Saeed founded LeT, and the U.S. has a $10 million reward for information leading to his arrest.

In September 2011, 24-year-old Jubair Ahmad, a Pakistani native residing in Woodbridge, VA, was arrested on charges of providing material support to LeT. According to the affidavit, Ahmad was indoctrinated and trained in Pakistan as a teenager before coming to the U.S. in 2007.

LeT evidently has a strong foothold in America and is not a problem confined to India and Pakistan. It is an Islamist terror group just like al-Qaeda or Boko Haram with the same goals of violence en route to domination. Therefore, the release of the group’s alleged military chief suspected of heading the Mumbai Massacre is concerning and raises questions about the Pakistan government’s commitment to eradicate terrorism. LeT is another indication that the U.S. and its allies face a global jihad movement that needs to be identified in order to be defeated.

Also see:

Understanding History’s 7 Stages of Jihad

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The Gorka Briefing, by Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Dec. 8, 2014:

The post-9/11 debate on the meaning of “jihad” has often floundered at a superficial understanding of the term. Jihad is often simply referred to as either “striving” or “holy war.” Jihad, however, must be understood to consist of four varieties of human activity agreed upon by Islamic theologians and jurists. The first is the jihad of the heart, the so-called “greater jihad” of fighting evil within oneself. The second and third definitions involve the jihads of the mind and tongue, the condoning of “right” behavior in others and counseling those who have gone astray. Finally, there is jihad of the sword. Jihad of the sword is most relevant for the counterterrorism community today because it rests at the foundation of the global jihadist ideology.

The concept of jihad of the sword has been repeatedly reinterpreted and redefined since the days of the Prophet Muhammad. During this extensive time period, jihad by the sword has been used by protagonists to rally co-religionists in the pursuit of a political objective. Al-Qa`ida and the broader Salafi-jihadi movement have also reinterpreted this concept to justify the direct targeting of civilians in terrorist attacks.

To properly understand the historic significance of al-Qa’ida, it is relevant to review the contextual evolution of the concept of jihad and the great success al-Qa’ida has had in redefining it for the current conflict.

Since the days of the Prophet Muhammad, jihad by the sword has been shaped by seven, historically-shaped political conceptualizations of jihad, occurring in the following order:

  1. empire building;
  2. the suppression of apostate subjects;
  3. the revolution against “false” Muslim leaders;
  4. the anti-colonial struggle and “purification” of the religion;
  5. countering Western influence and jahiliyya;[1]
  6. guerrilla warfare against secular invaders; and finally
  7. the direct targeting of civilians in terrorist attacks.

This article will identify each contextual interpretation and the significance of jihad as terrorism.

SEVEN SWORDS OF JIHAD

Each of the contextualizations of jihad of the sword has been dictated by the desire to have jihad fill a real, specific and political need for Muslims in a given age and facing a specific threat. When the Prophet Muhammad was building a completely new state, he used the concept of jihad to justify the expansion of Islam. Although the Qur’an does not use the term jihad to refer directly to empire-building in the military sense, sura 25 verse 52 stipulates “obey not the disbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost endeavor.” Understood in the context of Muhammad’s return to Mecca from Medina, and the ensuing conflict with the Meccans that is reflected in the latter half of an earlier sura, it is clear that striving is in this instance connected to military combat post hijra,[2] as Muhammad returns to Mecca and enforces his new writ. This constitutes the first offensive use of the concept, referring to the conflict to establish order among the Arab tribes around Mecca, through the use of force if necessary.

When Muhammad’s successor, Abu Bakr, faced recalcitrant tribes on the Arabian Peninsula that were threatening the order Muhammad had previously established, the second meaning of jihad was born: ridda, or the war against apostasy, against one’s own subjects. In the Western world, this would be equivalent to a war against rebels.

The third contextual definition of jihad came centuries later after the eclipse of the Abbasid Caliphate’s strength, starting in the second half of the 13th century. It is this reworking of the meaning of holy war, most significantly by Ibn Taymiyya, that has the greatest consequence for today’s context. The motivation for this redefinition was the need to provide Muslims with the right to revolt against their own leaders, specifically the Mongols. Islam had previously prohibited revolution against Muslim rulers. Ibn Taymiyya’s answer was to remove the prohibition; he argued that jihad is permissible against one’s own leaders if they do not live as true Muslims and if their rule does not conform to the requirements of Shari`a. He said,

And it is known by necessity from the din (religion) of the Muslims, and the agreement of all the Muslims, that whoever permits the following of a din other than Islam or following a Shari`a other than the Shari`a of Muhammad then he is a kafir (unbeliever), and it is like the kufr (blasphemy) of one who believes in part of the Book and disbelieves in part of the Book.[3]

Since the fusion of Mongol, Turkic and Tartar power was occurring at the same time that Ibn Taymiyya was writing, he was specific about the threat to “pure” Islam and how Muslims must respond:

Fighting the Tartars, those who came to the land of Shaam is wajib (religious duty) according to the Book and the Sunna, for indeed Allah said in the Qur’an: And fight them until fitna (schism/ blasphemous upheaval) is no more, and the din becomes all for Allah.[4]

Therefore, in the Middle Ages jihad became legitimate revolution based upon a new mechanism by which the people could denounce their leaders as un-Islamic.

The fourth political reconceptualization of jihad occurred four centuries later, starting in the early 1700s. As the European powers pushed militarily and politically into North Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, the threat to Islamic societies was two-fold. Empires such as the British had to be physically resisted. At the same time, the West’s cultural influence upon the purity of the Islamic faith was growing and had to be countered. During this period, jihad was defined as anti-colonial resistance.

This new interpretation of jihad was typified by the pronouncements of Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabi Islam. Its practical and military consequences were amply demonstrated during the decade-long resistance to the 1830 French invasion of Algeria led by `Abd al-Qadir and also by the Sudanese resistance to the British led by the self-proclaimed mahdi, Muhammad Ahmad. The second, non-military element of this redefinition of jihad—what author Noor Mohammad has described as Islam’s internal “housecleaning”—was represented by Shah Waliullah’s call to spiritual revival and the purification of India’s Muslims under British control.[5]

This definition of jihad would lead directly to the next interpretation, one that relies heavily on the principles laid down hundreds of years prior by Ibn Taymiyya, including the doctrine of takfir (excommunication). This fifth version of jihad was fathered and later developed by Abu al-A`la Mawdudi in India (then later Pakistan) and Sayyid Qutb in Egypt. This time the threat was embodied by the post-WWII Arab leaders of the Middle East and the influence of Western “soft power,” which together equaled a new jahiliyya, or age of polytheism and ignorance. Apostate leaders were to be resisted once more (and removed if possible), Islam purified and Shari`a re-imposed.

HOLY WAR AS AN INTERNATIONAL BRAND

With the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union in 1979, jihad would no longer be limited to resistance against the cultural and political influence of the secular West or un-Islamic Arab rulers. Although it is true that within Afghanistan, among the Afghans, the motivation to resist Soviet domination did not have to be couched in terms of theology but simply in terms of survival and sovereignty, to the Arab mujahidin recruited by the Palestinian Abdullah Azzam, jihad was a crucial concept, a brand Azzam assiduously built in his travels around the world. Most importantly, Azzam built his jihadist brand in a way that negated earlier requirements for holy war to be declared by a legitimate authority, as he redefined military resistance as an individual duty.

In his introduction to “Defense of Muslim Lands,” he plainly stated that

…if a piece of Muslim land the size of a hand-span is infringed upon, then jihad becomes fard `ayn (a personal obligation) on every Muslim male and female, where the child shall march forward without the permission of its parents and the wife without the permission of the husband.

Azzam invoked Ibn Taymiyya by name to justify his version of self-declared jihad and then warned his audiences of the price they would pay if they did not follow the path of military resistance. Quoting from the Qur’an, sura 9 verse 39: “If you march not forth, He will punish you with a painful torment and will replace you with another people, and you cannot harm Him at all, and Allah is able to do all things.”[6] By the late 1980s, Azzam’s rebranding of Muslim holy war in a new political and geostrategic context was so successful that even in the West jihad would become synonymous with guerrilla resistance to communist invasion and dictatorship.

Only after the eventual defeat of the Soviets, the end of the Cold War and the outbreak of the first Gulf War would the seventh and most important redefining of jihad of the sword be born. With Azzam’s death in 1989, his organization of Arab guerrillas, the Mujahidin Services Bureau (MAK), was taken over by his deputy Usama bin Ladin. Rejected by his own government when he offered to protect Saudi Arabia from Iraq with his Arab fighters, Bin Ladin would change the mission and name of his organization. The “godless” Russians had been defeated, the bipolar world order replaced by the hegemony of a victorious United States, a country that had been invited to bring its troops and influence into the Arabian Peninsula to defend Saudi Arabia from Iraq. Guerrilla warfare within Saudi Arabia against the apostate House of Saud and against U.S. targets was impractical, if not impossible.

Several influential figures who had followed the teachings of the original Muslim Brotherhood and its leader Hassan al-Banna, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, had, after the severe crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, joined the MAK. Bin Ladin’s Wahhabi understanding of jihad would be suffused with the ideology of the Egyptian Qutbists. What resulted was al-Qa`ida and a new indirect approach to violent jihad. Subsequently, the meaning of jihad was expanded for a seventh time since Muhammad built his empire in the seventh century. The fight would be focused less on irregular warfare in countries where Muslims were suffering and more on the “far enemy,” which they identified as supporters of tyrannical regimes in the Muslim world. With the East Africa embassy bombings, the USS Cole attack and then finally the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, Bin Ladin successfully defined jihad as willful targeting of civilians by a non-state actor through unconventional means. The seventh political definition of jihad, therefore, is terrorism.

CONCLUSION

It is crucial for analysts and strategic planners to fully understand this mutation and evolution of the concept of jihad over time. It is incorrect to see jihad solely as a religious concept referring to the striving of the individual to be pure, because jihad of the sword is referenced in the hadith in multiple instances. It is clear that the meaning of violent jihad has been shaped during the centuries to fit the needs of those espousing holy war and calling their co-religionists to the battlefield. Usama bin Ladin’s great historical significance is that he managed to turn jihad from referring to guerrilla resistance against military oppression of the 1980s to mean the killing of mass numbers of civilians on the soil of non-Muslim lands. Understanding this contextual evolution is critical in the effort to find strategies to weaken al-Qa`ida’s ideology.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka teaches irregular warfare and counterterrorism at the College of International Security Affairs of the National Defense University, Washington D.C. He is an Associate Fellow of the Joint Special Operations University (USSOCOM) whose first degree was in Philosophy and Theology. Most recently, he co-authored, with David Kilcullen, “Who’s Winning the Battle for Narrative: Al-Qaida versus the United States and its Allies,” in Influence Warfare (Praeger 2009). The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Defense or any other government agency.

[1] Jahiliyya refers to the age of polytheism and “unbelief” that existed before the Prophet Muhammad.[2] The hijra refers to the migration of the Prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina.[3] Ibn Taymiyya, “Rulings of Fighting the Mongols,” fatawa, 28/524.[4] Ibid.; See also Ibn Taymiyya, Al-Shaykh al-Imam: Al-Siyasah al-Shariyah fi Islah al Raiwa Rajyah (Cairo: Dar al-Shab, 1976).[5] Noor Mohammad, “The Doctrine of Jihad: An Introduction,” Journal of Law and Religion 3:2 (1985): p. 396.[6] This is otherwise known as part of the Sura at Taubah (Repentence).

(Originally published 3 October 2009 in the CTC Sentinel, Combating Terrorism Center, West Point)